Saturday, June 21, 2014

This week in birds - #113

A roundup of the week's news of birds and the environment:

Canada Geese have become ubiquitous in many parts of the country where they previously did not appear in summer. When we visited Mississippi last week, we found that they had made themselves at home there, too.

A small group of Canada Geese swimming in the Tennesse-Tombigbee Waterway in northeast Mississippi.

Geese are grazers, of course, and there is plenty for them to graze on here. 

Nearby an Osprey kept watch over it all, guarding its nest.




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June 16 - June 22 is designated as National Pollinator Week. Our food supply depends on a healthy population of pollinators and the USDA has information about resources to help these critters that are so important to us. Furthermore, the Xerces Society has plant lists to help pollinators in every region of North America.

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President Obama is proposing to expand a Pacific Ocean sanctuary to protect marine life. The proposal would create the world's largest marine sanctuary and would double the area of ocean globally that is fully protected.

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Birds are very efficient gardeners, often carrying seeds great distances and dropping them to grow and colonize new areas. It is believed that this is how the acacia tree was spread from Hawaii to the island of Reunion.

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A severe black fly outbreak in northern Wisconsin has caused 70% of the loons nesting there to abandon their nests. These voracious insects also have caused problems for those trying to establish a new flock of Whooping Cranes to nest in the area.

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Gov. Pat Quinn of Illinois has signed legislation that bans the manufacture and sale of personal care products that contain synthetic plastic microbeads. These microbeads can cause serious pollution of waterways.

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The population of California's rare Tricolored Blackbirds has dropped by 44% since 2011.

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"Bug Eric" has an interesting post about unusual beetles called eyed elaters, so-called because of their very prominent eyespots.

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For the first time in 110 years, a California Condor has been spotted in San Mateo County, California.

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And speaking of National Pollinator Week, bats are important pollinators. One of the plants that they pollinate is the agave that is used in the production of tequila. So, if you are fond of tequila, thank a bat!

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Researchers have found that caterpillars that feed from many different plants are more likely to be eaten by birds than those that specialize in eating only one species of plant - such as Monarch and Queen caterpillars on their milkweed plants.

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Photographers intent on getting pictures of Nature at all costs have the potential of doing great harm to the species or the habitat that they are trying to photograph. It is always important to be sensitive to the critters that you are trying to capture in your lens and if the animal appears stressed, back off.

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